New Delhi: Growing incidents of online radicalisation by dreaded terror group ISIS and reports of youth in India raring to join its network kept the Home Ministry on its toes in 2015.
The year also saw some tensions triggered by the lynching of a man in Dadri over rumours of beef consumption.
Tough action against “erring” NGOs and change of Union Home Secretary twice also marked the events in the Ministry.
Sporadic violence by militants in Jammu and Kashmir, Maoist attacks on security forces in central India and killing of 18 soldiers by NSCN-K in Manipur were a few other key issues that the Ministry had to deal with.
As 2015 winds up, Home Minister Rajnath Singh promised that government will ensure peaceful, secure and harmonious environment in the country in the coming year, stressing that security of women will be its top priority.
Singh also said the security scenario has shown marked improvement during the year, especially in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern region.
But it was the issue of radicalisation of Muslim youth that has emerged as a concern for the Home Ministry. In fact, National Investigation Agency Sharad Kumar has conceded that ISIS is emerging as a major threat for radicalisation of youth, especially in South India.
He feels that though ISIS has not taken root in India, it is influencing youth through internet and social media.
According to an estimate prepared by the intelligence agencies, at least 23 Indians have gone to ISIS-held areas in Iraq-Syria to fight for the terrorist group after they were radicalised online, forcing security forces to keep a close eye on social media outlets and some radical websites.
Six of them were killed while one returned home in Mumbai.
At least 30 other Indians, who were radicalised by ISIS elements, were also prevented from travelling to the conflict zone in the Middle-East.
Nearly 150 youths in the country are also under the surveillance of security agencies for their alleged leanings towards ISIS. Efforts are on to de-radicalise them with the help of their families and community elders.
In an advisory sent after the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, the Home Ministry had said the multiple strikes clearly indicate the intention of ISIS to expand the area of terror action beyond the core Iraq and Syria.
The Home Ministry said that though the ISIS has not been able to establish any significant presence in India, its success in radicalising some youth, attracting certain sections of local population or Indian diaspora to physically participate in its activities or the possibility of piggy backing on terrorist groups operating in India have opened up the possibility of ISIS-sponsored terrorist action on Indian territory.
The year also saw massive crackdown on NGOs, including
Greenpeace India, Ford Foundation, activist Teesta Setalvad’s two NGOs and one run by noted lawyer Indira Jaising, by the Ministry for their alleged violation of various provisions of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
Notices were issued to more than 10,000 NGOs for not filing annual returns continuously for three years while registration of 10,117 NGOs was cancelled after they were found to be allegedly violating rules.
As on December 1, 2015, 33,458 NGOs are registered under FCRA and they have received Rs 5,246 crore foreign funds during 2014-15 and Rs 13,052 crore in 2013-14.
Home Ministry also referred 17 cases of alleged misutilisation and misappropriation of foreign contribution by NGOs to CBI while 10 cases were given to the state police.
Government has also summarily changed the Union Home Secretary twice during the year — first Anil Goswami was replaced by L C Goyal on February 4 and then Goyal himself paved the way for Rajiv Mehrishi on August 31.
While Goswami was sacked for allegedly trying to prevent the arrest of former Union Minister Matang Sinh by CBI in connection with Saradha scam, Goyal was believed to have been removed due to differences with top echelons of the government as well as with some of his own officers.
The Home Ministry had to do fight with communal incidents like the one in Dadri, where Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched over rumour of alleged cow slaughter.
Even though it said that there has been no significant increase in incidents of hate crimes against minority communities during the year, there were 650 incidents of communal violence till October in the country in which 84 people lost their lives and 1,979 others were injured.
A total of 644 communal incidents were reported in entire 2014 across the country in which 95 people were killed and 1,921 others received injuries.
Situation in Jammu and Kashmir and Naxal-hit states continue to be stable except some sporadic incidents. In the northeast, NSCN-K continues to be a headache for security agencies as the rebel group was involved a series of violence, including killing of 18 soldiers in Manipur on June 4.
Centre also signed an agreement with another dominant Naga group, NSCN-IM, to pave way for a final settlement to the six-decade-old insurgency problem in Nagaland.
2015 saw successful deportation to India two fugitives — underworld don Chhota Rajan from Indonesia and ULFA leader Anup Chetia from Bangladesh.
Rajan was detained in Bali in October after his arrival from Australia and subsequently deported to India. Chetia, who was lodged in a jail in Dhaka, was sent back to India in November.
India and Bangladesh exchanged 162 adversely-held enclaves on August 1, resolving a complex issue that lingered since Independence.
There are 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India to be exchanged pursuant to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol and instruments of ratification of which were exchanged during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh on June 6-7.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, headed by Modi, gave its approval for completion of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS), an ambitious project conceived by the previous UPA government, by March 2017.
The project will synchronise databases of security organisations across the country after its integration with key components of the criminal justice system.
However, the Home Ministry did not make a headway in getting back underworld don and 1993 Mumbai serial blasts key accused Dawood Ibrahim, who is holed up in Pakistan.
Even though a dossier prepared by India listed the don’s nine residences in that country, there has been no headway in bringing him back to face justice.
Officially, the Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that government is committed to bring back fugitive ganglord to face law for his involvement in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.